Volunteer Handbook

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
Volunteer Handbook

“Those who can, do.  Those who can do more, volunteer.”

Handbook updated January/February 2013)

Volunteer Program Goal

The goal and purpose of the Volunteer Program is to provide support for staff in all departments by relieving staff of duties that volunteers are able to accomplish, thus allowing staff to focus on tasks that cannot be done by volunteers. 

Volunteers can best assist the staff (and visitors) by learning and understanding the task at hand and being able to work on their own with a minimum of supervision, but asking the proper person questions, when instructions are not clear or situations arise.


Mission Statement                                                                             

Code of Ethics                                                                                               

Volunteer Benefits                                                                             

Sanctuary Staff                                                                                  

Board of Directors                                                                              

When you are on duty…                                                                   

Visitor Guidelines                                                                              

Admissions Policy                                                                             

Hiking Trails                                                                                      

Trail Guide/Map                                                                                 

Hawk Mountain “Lingo”                                                                   

Answers to some frequently asked questions                                    

Migration Timetable                                                                           

Historical Chronology                                                                        

“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”

~Elizabeth Andrews~


Mission Statement

The mission of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association is to conserve birds of prey worldwide by providing leadership in raptor conservation science and education, and by maintaining Hawk Mountain Sanctuary as a model observation, research and education facility.                                                      Adopted by the Board of Directors                                                                                    March 11, 2006



 As a Hawk Mountain volunteer, I realize that I am subject to a code of ethics similar to that which binds the professionals in the field in which I volunteer.  I assume certain responsibilities and expect to account for what I do in terms of what I am expected to do.  I will keep confidential matters confidential. 

I interpret volunteer to mean that I have agreed to work without monetary compensation, but having been accepted as a worker, I realize I am making a commitment and expect to do my work according to the standards as the paid staff members are expected to do their work.

I promise to take to my work an attitude of open-mindedness, to be willing to be trained for it, and to follow the guidelines and procedures set by Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.  I believe that my attitude toward volunteer work should be professional.  I believe that I have an obligation to my work, to those who direct it, to my colleagues, to those for whom it is done, and to those who support and visit Hawk Mountain.

Being eager to contribute all that I can to further the mission of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association, I accept this code for the volunteer as my code, to be followed carefully, cheerfully and to the best of my ability.

Signed ______________________________________________Date ____/_____/_____




  • Discount of 15% in Mountain Bookstore for volunteers as soon as they have worked 35 hours in the current year.  Volunteers, who worked 35 hours the prior calendar year, are eligible for discount on the January 1 of the current year:

-    discount on regular merchandise only, not on clearance or food items.

  • husband and wife may not combine their hours; at least one of the couple must have worked 50 hours to qualify for discount.
  • discount privileges are for eligible volunteers and spouses only—not for other  relatives and friends.   
  • active volunteers may count training sessions and workshops for discount eligibility; field trips do not count.
  • please advise the Bookstore personnel that you qualify for the volunteer discount before your purchase is rung into the register.
  • Hawks Aloft, the delightful story of Maurice and Irma Broun, and Rosalie Edge; Hawk of Mercy, may be purchased at 15% discount upon completion of first day of service.
  • Learn about raptors and the natural history of the Central Appalachians.
  • Bi-annual issues of VOL NEWS.
  • Free Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Flight Guide.
  • Invitations to volunteer social events, e.g., Annual Volunteer-Board-Staff Picnic, pot luck suppers, slide shows, and field trips, etc.
  • Educational workshops and training sessions.
  • Meeting other volunteers, conservation science trainees and interns from around the world.
  • Use of Sanctuary campgrounds or shelters on volunteer day (based upon availability).
  • Tax deduction for mileage to the Sanctuary for income tax purposes.
  • Satisfaction of furthering the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary mission of conservation, education and research.



 Jerry Regan, President                                                                                                                 MBA Business Administration. Joined the staff in 2010. Responsible for overseeing all departments and staff, including all facets of Sanctuary operations, with special attention to finances, fundraising, conservation policy, and education.                                                                  Jerry brings to the Mountain more than 25 years in not-for-profit administration. His professional accolades including have spent ten years at Cornell University as the Deputy Director of the Johnson Museum of Art in additional to major gift development for Cornell, and more recently in his position as executive director for the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, having successfully raised $6 million for several capital campaigns. Jerry is a true people-person and is passionate about creating collaborations and motivating his team to work toward common goals. Since his arrival, the staff and board have been busy, and in just two years have approved a $10 million capital campaign, broke ground on the Common Room Improvement Project, balanced the budget, completed a land acquisition and long range plan for education, and streamlined operations. Jerry enjoys the arts, hunting, hiking, and spending time with his wife Janice, two teenage boys, a golden retriever and cat at their family cabin in New York.


Shelley Davenport, Business Manager                                                                           Joined the staff in 2006.
Besides acting as liaison between the staff and board, Shelley also has a dual role that includes paying the bills and monitoring cash flow, as well as serving as primary point person for staff on their healthcare and other benefits. When she wears the financial hat, she processes invoices and bills, and works closely with staff and the finance committee on budgeting, financial reports and ensuring proper gift stewardship. When the human resources hat is on, she maintains required documentation and personnel files, and is the contact person for insurance and other benefit representatives. Her latest project has been work to streamline and improve computer costs and maintenance, and planning for the new budget. Shelley resides in Orwigsburg with her husband David and teenage daughter and takes great pleasure in caring for and enjoying her many pets, including four horses, three dogs, one cat, several fish, and most recently, a pygmy goat.

 Development and Communications


Mary Linkevich, Director of Communications and Grants                                               B.A. English. Joined the staff in 2001.                                                                             Mary oversees communications at Hawk Mountain including the Sanctuary's media relations program, website and social networking outlets, and production of brochures, posters and other printed pieces including Hawk Mountain News. In addition, she helps craft messaging, edits copy, and prepares grant proposals and reports, and is responsible for strategic branding. Mary is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and a former board member of the Schuylkill County Visitor Bureau.  In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, reading, basket weaving, cooking and spending time outdoors, and resides with her boyfriend in Tamaqua

Tammy Jandrasitz, Membership and Volunteer Manager                                                B.A. English.  Joined the staff in 1998.   Tammy can be found writing and producing membership acquisitions, renewals and other mailings, and working with the staff to identify volunteer needs and match them with interested individuals. In her job she oversees more than 10,000 individuals in the Hawk Mountain databse, and organizes all aspects of the Sanctuary's annual Gala and Hawk Mountain Hill Climb among other Sanctuary events. Her latest project has been working to convert data and combine both the volunteer and membership database, and research new approaches to member acquisition.  In her spare time Tammy shares with college students her expertise in baton twirling, and since 2002, has served as director for both colorguard and twirling for Kutztown University band front. An avid sports fan, Tammy roots for Penn State and the Philadelphia Phillies, and enjoys spending time at home with her dog Nittany.

 AnnieTrexler, DevelopmentAssistant                                                                              Joined the staff in 1981-2009; rejoined 2013.  Over the years, Annie has served as Bookstore Manager, Business Manager and most recently, Development Assistant, where she is responsible for entering contributions and memberships, generating acknowledgements, and answering visitor phone calls. She also workswith volunteers to complete mailings, provides support for the rest of the development team, and helps as needed on special events and fundraisers.


 Visitor Center and Bookstore                                                                                      Mary Therese (MT) Grob, Bookstore Manager                                                               B.S., Parks and Recreation.  Joined the staff in 2008.  Mary-Therese (or "MT") oversees all aspects of both visitor services and merchandise sales, including greeting visitors, answering questions, selling and tracking trail admissions, as well as managing inventory and ordering, and promoting membership. MT was (and still is!) an avid birder and long-time Sanctuary volunteer before joining the staff, and has been visiting the Sanctuary since the first grade. It’s no surprise, then, that she loves to meet the many people who share her enthusiasm for nature and the Sanctuary and to help them have the most enjoyable visit possible.  When she's not in the bookstore you can usually find MT somewhere outside, either birding, hiking or walking her dog Zeke. She and her husband, Pat reside in Hamburg.

Tara Burke, Bookstore  Assistant                                                                                    Joined the staff in 2011.
Tara helps ensure smooth operations of the bookstore, a large majority of which is providing top notch visitor services and greeting every person who enters the Visitor Center. As an avid outdoor enthusiast with a personal interest in birds and native plants, Tara is great at answering questions and helping to orient first-timers. Tara and her husband live at the base of Hawk Mountain where they are envied by other staff for living 'off the grid' in their green home.


Erin Brown, Education Director 
 Kutztown University. B.A., Biology, College of Charleston, NC.  Joined the staff in 2014.  Erin developes, directs, coordinates and implements the Hawk Mountain education program, including curriculum and program development, evaluation and strategic planning, and overssees the professional and volunteer educatirs and raptor handlers.  She also coordinates school group visits to the Sanctuary, weekend programs and other educational programming, and works to strategically grown Hawk Mountain's role as a global leader in raptor education.  Erin brings to the Mountain experience in bothe the public school system where she worked as a Life Science Teacher at the Parkland Area School District, as well as the state park system, where she held past positions as an environmental educator and volunteer coordinator for Tuscarora and Locust Lake State Parks.  Her broad-based experiene includes leading teacher workshops, developing science-based curriculum, directing eco camps, and work within the school system to develop new science curriculums and create STEMM-related activities.  Erin's outdoor teaching certifications include the Project WILD, Project WET and WOW!, the Project WILD Aquatic, the PA Songbirds, and the WWF Pa.Diversity curriculums, and ten years of hands-on-experience in handling and caring for live raptors and using them as tools for learning.

A ling-time education volunteer and member of the Carbon County Environmental Center, Brown is a senior Girl Scout leader in Douglassville.  She currently resides with her husband Eirc and three children in Birdsboro shere the entire Brown family enjoys an active, outdoor lifestyle.

RachelTaras, Educator                                                                                                                                 M.S. Ecological Teaching and Learning.  Joined the staff in 2008 as a seasonal educator. 
Having worked five years as seasonal educator, Rachel recently began her full-time tenure with Hawk Mountain.  For half a decade, Rachel lead guided groups, presented weekend programs and provided informal nature interpretation to visitors…and will continue to do so among picking up additional duties.  A graduate of Cedar Crest College with a B.A. in Elementary Education, she currently volunteers at Lehigh Gap Nature Center and Carbon County Environmental Education Center.  In her free time, Rachel enjoys hiking, reading and roller skating. 

Adam Carter, Educator    B.A. Environmental Science.  Joined staff in 2014  As an educator, Adam interacts with visitors on a daily basis and informs them about migration ecology and raptor natural history.  Prior to joining the full-time staff, he worked as a seasonal educator, leading guided field trips at the Sanctuary, and also served as an official counter during the 2013 Autumn Hawk Watch.  His past experience includes several years working as a field technician for environmental organizations such as The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and Manu National park in Peru, and he also is a graduate of the Hawk Mountain Conservation Science Traineeship Program.  Adam hails from Pottstown, PA.  In his spare time he enjoyes mountain biking, reading and birding.  Adam is passionate about the outdoors and hopes to help educate,visitors about raptor conservation, both locally and globally. 


Land and Facilities 

Todd Bauman, Director of Land and Facilities                                                                 B.S. Environmental Science.  Joined staff in 1995.
A former law enforcement agent, Todd has 15 years experience in facilities management, visitor safety and science-based land stewardship. His additional skills in interpretive education, grant fulfillment, volunteer management and public relations make him ideal for supervising all aspects of visitor relations and safety, and facilities upgrades that meet the mission. Todd's most recent project has been serving as Project Manager on the Common Room Improvement Project. Recently, he and Ryan Beltz established the Hawk Mountain Conservation Corps, a service learning program for teens to share outdoor skills and important conservation lessons, in exchange for hard work on behalf of the members.  Todd resides on-site in historical Schaumbach's Tavern, and the proud father of two sons and a daughter.  During his time off, Todd likely is on a new outdoor adventure, be it backpacking, canoeing, hiking or climbing.

  Ryan Beltz, Assistant Director of Land and Facilities                                                      M.A. English.  Joined staff in 2010.                                                                      
Ryan has a long history with Hawk Mountain, having worked as a volunteer throughout high school and as seasonal employee on busy autumn weekends. A skilled outdoorsman and naturalist, he fits into the Land and Facilities department well, assisting in all aspects of visitor service and facilities management, and overseeing special projects.  Most recently Ryan spearheaded improvements at the Aspen Cut Campground including building a timber frame pavilion and installing hand-made wooden tent frames for each of the six sites. In addition to his regular duties, he also oversees the Native Plant Garden, including coordinating work by the weekly garden volunteers, and helps Tammy with the annual Hawk Mountain Hill Climb.  Ryan resides on-site but has many interests and skills off the mountain, including hiking, running, rock climbing, travel, and literature, and has been known to spend his summers leading groups of troubled youth in Alaska or taking a solo motorcycle trip south along the coast of California and into Central America.

 Conservation Science (Acopian Center Staff)

Keith Bildstein, Ph.D., Director of Conservation Science                                                Ph.D. Zoology.  Joined staff in 1992.
Keith oversees programs in Conservation Science and works out of the Acopian Center for Conservation Learning where he sets priorities for and conducts Sanctuary research, and coordinates research by visiting scientists and students. Keith also is responsible for achieving goals set by the Science Advisors Committee, including leadership and mentorship in global raptor conservation. He also directs the acclaimed Conservation Science Trainee and Intern Program and our newly emerging Graduate Student Program. His current research projects include a study of Striated Caracaras in the Falkland Islands, a long-term study of New World Vultures in the Americas, and an upcoming study of Hooded Vultures in Africa.  Keith is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, has written several books including Migrating Raptors of the World: their ecology and conservation (2006), and is a member of 21 professional organizations. When he's not traveling, Keith can usually be found watching, studying or reading about raptors.


Laurie Goodrich Ph.D., Senior Monitoring Biologist                                                      Ph.D. Ecology.   Joined staff in 1984.
Hawk Mountain hired Laurie as its first full-time research biologist. Today she boasts more than 25 years of service and oversees the Sanctuary's long-term migration monitoring programs, including the mammoth annual autumn hawk count, and the Sanctuary's natural history database.  An enthusiastic educator, Laurie also is a skilled interpretive naturalist and helps to train conservation science trainees and interns, and volunteers in raptor identification.  In 2010 the board selected her to serve as Director of Education for two years, and during this time she spearheaded a rigorous planning process that resulted in the first-ever long-range plan for Hawk Mountain education programming.  Laurie recently launched the new Pennsylvania Farmaland Raptors Program, and is the Hawk Mountain liaison for the award-winning Raptor Population Index Project. Her latest focus is on publishing results from her dissertation research and in analyzing long-term datasets on age and sex of raptor migrants.  A long-time volunteer for Big Brothers-Big Sister of Schuylkill County, Laurie enjoys gardening, hiking and birdwatching, and resides in Orwigsburg.


Jean Francios (JF) Therrian, Ph.D., Senior Research Biologist                                    Ph.D. Biology.  Joined the staff in 2011.
After completing an academic internship with Hawk Mountain in the fall of 2002, JF returned nine years later as Senior Research Biologist. Leading the Sanctuary’s research projects in the Arctic, JF is also involved in several studies including the movement ecology of New World Vultures and Peregrine Falcons across the Americas.  When he's not monitoring the long-term American kestrel nest-box program or helping with the migration counts from the Sanctuary’s lookout, JF can be found teaching statistics to conservation science trainees and interns or enjoying life with his wife and two young children.

 David Barber, Research Biologist                                                                                  M.S. Zoology.  Joined staff in 1999.  David is responsible for all Sanctuary GIS mapping projects and has single handedly entered 283,000 “locational fixes' that make up the findings from our long-term New World vulture research. He also conducts stewardship and monitoring programs, helps to conduct the annual count, and to train interns, particularly in wing tagging techniques and the use of mapping software. David is talented birder-by-ear and skilled naturalist who can be found out and about, working to complete the breeding bird, butterfly and other annual surveys on the Sanctuary.  An award-winning brewer, David is our resident beer connoisseur, and enjoys working with his hunting dogs and being outdoors He resides in Orwigsburg with his wife Patty.

 Wendy Frew, Operations Coordinator                                                                           BS Graphic Design.  Joined the staff in 2007.  Wendy is responsible for all scheduling, overnight stays, and the many details that ensure smooth operations at this three-building research and training center. She also oversees all Sanctuary reprints and maintenance of its 3,000-volume library, and as a graphic designer, she often provides her expertise on new publications and other print projects. in her role as conservation science trainee and intern coordinator, she arranges for visa and makes travel arrangements, and monitors all the schedules and logistics that go along with hosting up to eight residential trainees from different backgrounds.  Wendy is very active in theater community and member of her alumni band.


Hawk Mountain Board of Directors

                                 Executive Committee

Beste III, Fred , Chairman

Weidensaul, Scott, Vice Chairman

Bennett, Peter, Treasurer

Thun, Ferdinand, Secretary

 Board of Directors                                                                                                      

 Barbara Altman
Dr. William M. Anderson
Robert Barkanic                                                                                                           Dick Bus
Christina Clayton
Lewis Cyr
Richard Eales
Deborah Edge, MD
Stephen Edge, MD
Ellen Feretti
Kenneth Hawkins
Tom Kerr
Solomon Lausch
Joseph Mallory 
Shane Mengel 
Amy Placek
Daniel Rubenstein 
Bill Sands
Houston Stebbins
Ferdinand Thun 
Scott Weidensaul
Jeff Weil
Minturn Wright, III

Board members receive no financial compensation, and offer time and expertise on a completely volunteer basis.



 Remember - as a Hawk Mountain Volunteer, you may be the only “official” representative of the Sanctuary with whom a visitor has contact, and the impression you make is very important.  No matter what your job - please be professional, pleasant, courteous and helpful, to ensure that all our visitors have a positive experience. 

1        Sign in at the Volunteer Center and let the appropriate staff know you are here.

2        Read the weekly memo for information related to your assigned duty (Spring & Fall)

3         Wear your Vol name badge and an armband if necessary.

4         Help yourself to coffee or tea and any snacks on the lunch table in the volunteer/staff lunch room; please place used dishes and cups in the dishwasher.

5        Smile and greet visitors.

6        Tell us what we can do better—your suggestions are welcome.

7        Ask questions if there is something you don’t understand or isn’t clear.

8        Dress appropriately for representing an international organization; no short shorts, tee shirts with inappropriate wording, or revealing tank tops, etc. 

9        Volunteer patches are available to all Vols but for consistency, must be worn only on a collared khaki camp shirt only, i.e., a shirt with a collar—long or short sleeves.

10    Communication is the key to a smooth operation of all areas of Volunteers’ duty.

11    Familiarize yourself with the Volunteer Handbook and be prepared to help visitors.

12    Volunteer parking:

September through November

Weekends: All volunteers are required to park in the reserved lot (by the Clivus) or behind the Visitor Center to allow the maximum of space for visitors in the public parking lots.  (Staff parks on the service/fire road.)

**Weekend Vols must display a yellow Vol parking identification tag on their rear view mirror when approaching the entrance gate and while driving through the parking lots.  Parking personnel will then be able to readily identify you as a Vol and direct you to the Vol reserved parking area via the quickest and safest route.                                                                             

WeekdaysPlease park anywhere except the staff lot directly behind Headquarters, i.e., park in the grass “reserved” lot by the Clivus or public parking lots.                                                                             
    December through August (weekdays and weekends):                                          Same as above “weekdays”.                                         


Hiking is permitted only on designated trails.

No pets. 1

No smoking.  2

No loud noise, radios or other audio devices.  3

No alcoholic beverages.

No bicycles, mountain or trail bikes, ATV’s, snowmobiles or horses.

Do not pick or remove anything! - plants, critters, stones, etc.  4

Lunches may be eaten at any Lookout,  Picnic tables in the Amphitheater, or tables by the parking lots—not in the Information Pavilion or Habitat Garden. 

Carry-in, Carry-out trash—“if you brought it with you, please take it with you when you leave”.

No fires or grills.

Pets are not permitted on Sanctuary grounds - even on a leash; they may be left in the car.  Dogs can be walked nearby on the Appalachian Trail and on PA State Game Lands on either side of the mountain;  Service dogs and dogs in training are the exceptions (Service vest is to be worn by the animal and owner should have proper documentation.)

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary property is smoke-free but we cannot prevent smoking on Hawk Mountain Road.  Volunteers and staff who smoke may do so, on the back porch.

Headphones are acceptable provided sound cannot be heard by other visitors.

If a visitor attempts to remove something from the Mountain, politely ask them to not to do so and leave whatever has been collected.  You could say, “Please remember Hawk Mountain is a sanctuary, and perhaps you are not aware that nothing is to be removed from the grounds.” 

Please remember when you are informing visitors of the above guidelines that very often people simply don’t think, don’t know the rules or don’t notice/read signs.



Members of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association are admitted to the trails free of charge; memberships are valid for a year, and expiration dates are March 1, June 1, and October 1.  

Individual ($40) memberships admit one person.  A Family ($50) membership admits a couple and their children under 18 or grandparents and their grandchildren 18 and under; Family Plus ($60) admits family members (as above) plus two guests every visit—family or friends, etc.; see membership benefit card for additional benefits for higher categories.
General Admission Fees are collected in the Visitor Center and tickets must be shown at trail entrance.
Non-member trail fees are:



Weekends and    holidays only


Dec. - Aug.

Sept. - Nov.




Children 6-12



Seniors (65 and up)



Children 5 and under



Business Members
One employee of the business receives a membership card; it is basically the same as a family membership; business members also receive complimentary guest passes.  Membership card must be presented at the Visitor Center or Gate.

Special Guest Pass
Special guest passes are good for one admission - one person, one time; each pass must have a name and address filled out.

Groups - A discount is available to groups provided they meet the requirements (info available in the Bookstore and the website).

School Field Trips with Staff/Volunteers
Field trips led by Sanctuary staff and volunteers and are set up through the Education Department.        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Groups (Explore on your own)                                                                                                    Groups without staff pay in the Visitor Center.                                                                     

    Appalachian Trail
Hikers leaving the Appalachian Trail through the Sanctuary should pay the regular trail fee.


Visitors entering the trail system should have a Trail Map, proper footwear, and the essentials (water, food, insect repellant, etc.,) to complete the hike safely.   A detailed description of the trails is on the back of the Trail Map.

 Lookout Trails (orange blaze)
North Lookout Trail
is a one-mile trail that leads from the Visitor Center, past the South Lookout to North Lookout and takes about 30 minutes.  The main part of the trail or “scenic route” is fairly easy - the first third is groomed, the remainder is rocky and there is a 60-step stairway near the end.  The Accessible Trail meanders through the woods leading to both the Laurelwood Niche and South Lookout.  Is wheelchair accessible and has many resting benches.  The Express Route, which leads off the main trail, is a steep, rocky, shortcut to the North Lookout; the Escarpment Trail is rough, rocky and goes over boulders along the edge of the ridge between North and South Lookouts; Sunset Lookout Trail requires climbing over boulders.
River of Rocks Trail (red blaze)
The River of Rocks Trail is a rough and very rocky trail which starts at the South Lookout, loops around the River of Rocks, continues north around a research area and ends on the Lookout Trail near the North Lookout.  This trail is approximately 3.5 miles long and takes an experienced hiker about 3.0 hours at a fairly steady pace.  It should not be attempted by anyone who is not prepared for a strenuous workout. 
Skyline Trail (blue blaze)
This trail follows the ridge east from North Lookout (there is a 30 foot ascent/descent to/from North Lookout) past East Rocks, and joins the Appalachian Trail; it is approximately 2.0 miles.  It is rocky and rugged terrain, recommended for experienced hikers only.
Golden Eagle Trail (yellow blaze)
The 1.75 mile Golden Eagle Trail loops north off the River of Rocks Trail, follows the Skyline Trail along the ridge, rejoins the River of Rocks Trail.  The trail begins in the valley and leads straight up and down the side of the ridge; it is very steep and rocky and is not recommended for the inexperienced hiker.
Appalachian Trail (white blaze)
The Appalachian Trail is east of the Sanctuary boundary as shown on the Sanctuary trail guide.  Appalachian Trail guides and maps may be purchased in the Bookstore.  To get to the AT, go east on Hawk Mountain Road; turn right at the school bus shelter in Eckville; after half a mile, turn right to the Games Lands parking lot.  There is a map at the far end of the parking lot showing access to the AT.  (Written directions to the AT are available for distribution in the Visitor Center.)  Hikers exiting the AT through Hawk Mountain pay trail fees.
The “Trail Guide to North Lookout” brochure which identifies the numbered markers along the trail, is a good source of natural and cultural history about the Sanctuary for visitors. Visitors may also obtain the information by scanning QR codes on each marker.



You may hear some terminology on the Mountain that is unfamiliar; the following definitions should be helpful.

Acopian Center for Conservation Learning – the three-building complex located along Route 895, just west of Hawk Mountain Road, comprised of a Research Center, Conservation Science Trainee Residence and Visiting Scientist Residence.  The facility is not open to the public.

Aspen Cut or the campground – campground which is available to Kestrel Club ($75 and above) and volunteers who are on duty 

Cobble – the rocky outcropping on the ridge, south of north, behind the Visitor Center; formerly used as a site for spring migration counts. This area is not open to visitors.

 Clivus - Clivus Multrum composting toilets, which are located across from the amphitheater, near the North Lookout, and at the campground; the composting unit in the Visitor Center is a Bio Sun system.

“the count” – the official number of migrating hawks tallied; e.g., “How is the count today?”, “What is the count?”, “I’m going to call north for the count.”

 Common Room – education building/meeting room located along Hawk Mountain Road east of the Visitor Center; guided school groups assemble here before going on the trail; workshops, programs and courses also meet at the Common Room.

 downstairs gallery – the lower meeting/exhibit area in the Visitor Center

exhibit gallery – area of educational exhibits to the right, inside the door of the Visitor Center

garden/seed shed – the small building located at the left rear of the Visitor Center where garden tools and bird seed are stored

“the gate” – the small covered booth across the road at the entrance to North Lookout Trail; “ I must relieve the Vol at the gate”.

Headquarters – or Visitor Center; the main building which houses educational exhibits, the Mountain Bookstore and staff offices

Hill House – staff residence off Hawk Mountain Road east of headquarters

Information Booth – booth/counter immediately inside the Visitor Center front door

Information Pavilion – structure along the trail between the Visitor Center and Hawk Mountain Road, across from the Native Plant Garden,

 “main” – the large parking lot closest to the Visitor Center entrance; “There’s a car in main with lights on.”

 meadow/meadow lot – the large grassy parking lot to the left after the last bend in the exit road; “There’s an overheated car in meadow.” 

mews – where live raptors used for educational programs are housed. (Public access is not available.)

Native Plant Garden – fenced garden across from the Information Pavilion which demonstrates how to use native plants that attract and benefit wildlife

“north” – North Lookout; e.g., “I’m going to north”,  “What’s the count from north?”, “Meet me at north”.

Owl’s Head – the closest slope/rocky outcropping along the ridge southeast of the Visitor Center, visible from north and south

Pinnacle – the farthest slope along the ridge to the southeast, visible from north and south

  raptor enclosures – see mews

 seed shed – see garden shed

“the shed” – maintenance shed where large equipment, i.e., backhoe, dump truck, etc. and tools are stored; located on the service road east of the Visitor Center; “I’m going to the shed for a hammer”.

Schaumboch’s (or Schaumbach’s) – tavern built in the early 1700’s served as a residence for Maurice and Irma Broun and the first headquarters building; currently a staff residence.

reserved lot – the grassy areas where Vols may park, across from the Clivus, near the amphitheater, inside the gate on the way to  the rear of the Visitor Center and staff lot

“south” – South Lookout; e.g., “I’m going to south”, “How’s the count at south?

Visitor Center – (see headquarters)

Volunteer Center/Vol Center – The desk and area in the Visitor Center lunchroom where Vols sign in and memos are located

Volunteer Office – The office 2 doors down on the left from the Vol Center, devoted to workspace for Vols

Vol Lot – the unpaved parking lot off Hawk Mountain Road behind the Common Room




Where are the rest rooms?      Rest rooms with composting toilets that require little or no water, are located in the Visitor Center, across from the Amphitheater and near North Lookout.  Pit toilets are located at the beginning of the Lookout Trail just past the entrance gate.  

Where can I get a drink?      Bottled water and other cold drinks are sold in the Bookstore.  Water fountains are located in the Visitor Center hallway to the rest rooms and outside the Visitor Center along the brick walkway to the Lookout Trail.

Do you have facilities for the physically disabled?      Yes, there are bird feeding stations to view from the Visitor Center, our rest rooms are equipped for the physically challenged, and the Native Plant Garden has a brick walkway.  The new accessible trail leads to South Lookout where there is a special area to accommodate wheelchairs.  A motorized wheelchair is available in the Visitor Center at no charge and a golf cart can be requested for special circumstances.

How far is it to the North Lookout?  Approximately one mile from the Visitor Center and ¾ of a mile from the trail entrance—about a 30 minute hike; the first 1/3 is groomed, the second 2/3 gets rocky.

How far can I see from the North Lookout?      On a clear day you can see approximately 50 miles, but years ago, when the air was less polluted, visibility was approximately 70 miles.

Where are the trash cans?      The Sanctuary has a “carry-in, carry-out” policy and therefore does not provide trash receptacles (problems with bears looking for food is one reason). Visitors are required to carry out any trash they carry in.  We do provide receptacles for trash generated by items we sell, e.g., canned juice, bottled water and frozen fruit bars. 

Where are the bird cages?                                                                                           We do not exhibit birds in cages.  Our non-releasable, raptors are used for school groups and    education programs on weekends during spring and fall.  A schedule of weekend programs is posted by the Visitor Center and at the Lookout Trail entrance. 

Where did you get them?      All the raptors used for education programs would be unable to survive in the wild and therefore cannot be released.  The birds came to us after being injured (shot, hit by a car, etc.) and rehabilitated.  Others have been imprinted, which means after being raised by humans, they have not learned how to survive in the wild. 

What is the Native Plant Garden?      The garden demonstrates how native plants can be used in a low-cost, low-maintenance, pesticide-free home garden.  The native wildflowers, vines, grasses, shrubs and trees featured in the garden attract butterflies, songbirds, and other wildlife by providing food, shelter, and a place to raise their young.

Who maintains it?      The Native Plant Garden is maintained solely by volunteers with a minimum of staff supervision.

What is the eagle sculpture in the Native Plant Garden made of?      The Golden Eagle by Mary Taylor, daughter of former board president Joe Taylor, is made of steel rods.  It took four months to complete, is 14 feet high, weighs 530 pounds and the span between wingtips is nine feet.  It was crated and shipped 3,200 miles from California on a flat-bed trailer. 

Where did you get the sculpture in the Amphitheater?      The eagle sculpture is from the former John Wanamaker Department store in Reading and was donated by the Hecht Company which bought out the Wanamaker chain.

When was the Visitor Center built?      The current Visitor Center was built in 1974.  The rear addition for staff offices and conference room were added in 1987; the new exhibit gallery and expanded Bookstore were added in 1991.

What is the Acopian Center?      The Acopian Center for Conservation Learning is a three-building complex comprised of the Research Center which houses staff and conservation science trainees offices, a map lab, a Library, conference room and archives storage room.  The other two buildings are the Conservation Science Trainee Residence and Visiting Scientist’s Residence.  (The facility is not open to the public.)

 May I use the Library?      Anyone is welcome to use the Acopian Center Library if they call in advance for an appointment, but books may not be taken out on loan.  A small library in the Visitor Center is available to Volunteers.

What is the Common Room?      The Common Room, located on Hawk Mountain Road east of the Visitor Center, is used for education programs, workshops, seminars and meetings.  An adjoining apartment serves as a residence for seasonal staff.

What is Schaumboch’s?      Schaumboch’s, on Hawk Mountain Road east of the Visitor Center, is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was a tavern in the early 1900’s and later served as Visitor Center and residence for Maurice and Irma Broun.  Currently it is a staff residence.

Is it haunted?      Some residents have had unusual experiences, such as the light switches turning on and off by themselves.

How late are the trails open?      The trails are open dawn to dusk every day of the year.

When is the Visitor Center open?      The Visitor Center is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.  Hours are from 8-5 September through November and 9-5 December through August.

Where may we eat our lunch?      We request that you only eat in designated areas.  Picnic tables are located in the amphitheater, near several of the parking lots, and you are welcome to eat on any of the Lookouts.  Please don’t eat in the Information Pavilion, the Native Plant Garden, or anywhere not designated.

When did you start charging to hike the trails?      Trail fees have been in effect since autumn 1938 and Irma Broun was the first “Keeper of the Gate”.

May I bring my dog?      I’m sorry, pets are not permitted anywhere on the Sanctuary, but they can be walked on the nearby PA Game Lands or the Appalachian Trail.

Why not?      Hawk Mountain is a wildlife refuge and dogs are not appropriate as they may disturb wildlife.  During the fall there are too many people—consequently dogs are not permitted  even on a leash.

Isn’t this a state park?      No, Hawk Mountain is a private, non-profit organization but is a “Registered Natural Landmark” and Schaumboch’s is on the “National Register of Historic Places”.

Where do you get money to support the place?      Hawk Mountain is supported by memberships, admission fees and grants. We receive no federal or state funding for our daily operations, but may receive grants for special projects from government agencies.

May I use my “Golden Age Passport”?      I’m sorry, golden age passports are for admission to national parks, and Hawk Mountain has no state or federal affiliations.  Trail admission is free to Hawk Mountain members.


Why do the hawks migrate?      Hawks migrate south in the autumn because of inadequate food supplies in winter; they migrate north to breed in the spring because there is abundant food in the north during the summer and less competition within their niche.

Why do hawks migrate past Hawk Mountain in fall?      Hawks migrate past Hawk Mountain because they expend less energy by riding the wind currents and thermals created along the Kittatinny Ridge.

When is the best time to see hawks?      The official hawk count takes place August 15 to December 15.  The first few days after a cold front comes through, when winds are from the northwest is best.  In September there can be large numbers of broadwings and in October there is the greatest number of different species.

Can I see hawks here in the spring?      Yes, but the spring migration isn’t nearly as concentrated as in the fall because birds take a more direct route north to get to their breeding grounds.  Hawk Mountain is less well suited to sight birds from a southerly direction.  There are some very good spring hawk migration sites, like Derby Hill, NY.

Is there anything to see here during the year other than fall?      The Sanctuary is interesting at any time of year.  During the winter the trails are peaceful and winter resident wildlife may be seen; in the spring migrant birds pass through and the summer resident birds set up territories; dogwood trees bloom around Mother’s Day, in early June the Mountain Laurel is in bloom and the Native Plant Garden is beautiful at any time of year.

Are there bears on the Sanctuary?      Bears are occasionally seen on the Sanctuary, usually from mid-summer until they go into hibernation.  If you encounter a bear—do not try to approach it; if it comes toward you—make loud noises and wave your arms to scare it away.

Was there ever a river at the River of Rocks?      No, but there is a small stream (Kettle Creek) that flows under it in spring from snow melt.

How was the River of Rocks formed?      The generally accepted theory is that during the last ice age (which ended about 11,000 years ago), the glaciers stopped about 50 miles north of here.  Freezing and thawing during that time caused the rocks to break up, and tumble to the valley below.  The stream and depth of rocks keeps the forest from reclaiming the River of Rocks.

What kind of rocks are on the North Lookout? Tuscarora Sandstone.                                                   

When does the Mountain Laurel bloom?                                                                    About the second week in June and the rhododendron blooms about July 4.

Are there snakes in the woods?      Snakes are not seen very often, but when one is sighted it usually is a black or milk snake; occasionally rattlesnakes are seen and copperheads less frequently.



Where is the closest ATM machine?

      West:  Hawk Mountain General Store - Intersection of Rt. 895 & Rt. 61 (4 miles).

      East:  Rabert’s Sunoco Mini Mart - Intersection of Hawk Mountain Road and Rt. 143 (7 miles).

   Where is a good restaurant?... motel?... bed and breakfast?      A list of restaurants, accommodations and attractions is available at the Visitor Center and the gate; on fall weekends at the Information Booth and Information Pavilion.

Where is the Appalachian Trail/Pinnacle?... the nearest food/gas?... Hawk Mountain Scout Camp?      Printed directions to the above are available at the Visitor Center.

How do I get to _________________?      A Pennsylvania state map is available at the Visitor Center or the gate.


How crowded does it get on the fall weekends?      On our busiest fall weekend day we recorded over 3,000 visitors.  The crowds, migrating raptors and the foliage all peak in mid-October, but you can avoid the crowds by coming on weekdays or early in the day on weekends; or visit the Sanctuary during spring, summer and winter.

Do you rent binoculars?      Binoculars may be rented at the Visitor Center for $5.  A credit card is required and if binoculars are not returned by 5 p.m. or are returned damaged, the credit card will be charged $150.

How many volunteers does Hawk Mountain have?      Currently there are more than 220 individual volunteers and many organized groups that volunteer at Hawk Mountain.  Volunteers contributed as many as 15,000 hours a year, which is equal to seven additional staff.  According to figures from the Points of Light Foundation, this contribution is valued at more than $200,000.            



1932 - 2013



Richard Pough discovers hawk shooting on the Kittatinny Ridge above Drehersville, Pennsylvania.






Richard Pough sends his photographs of the dead hawks to the Hawk and Owl Society of New York.



Rosalie Edge visits this mountain ridge for the first time, and for $500 obtains a lease for the 1300-acre property that was to become Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.






Maurice and Irma Broun arrive at Hawk Mountain to oversee the operation of the Sanctuary and begin to monitor and count the migrating birds.






Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association incorporates and its Board meets in Drehersville.  Rosalie Edge is elected as the Sanctuary’s first president.



Admission to the trail is .15 for adults.






The Sanctuary is dubbed “School in the Clouds” by veteran naturalist Vernon Bailey.







Maurice Broun serves in the South Pacific during World War II and no daily counts of migrating raptors are recorded in his absence.






Maurice Broun returns from the war and resumes daily hawk counts during the migration season.






Maurice Broun is named full-time Curator, and he and Irma take up year-round residence on the Mountain.



“Hawks Aloft”, Maurice’s book on Hawk Mountain, is published.






Joseph Taylor and Roger Tory Peterson join the Board of the Sanctuary Association.



Schaumboch’s is purchased by board member Marion Ingersoll and donated to the Sanctuary.  The Brouns take up residence in this reputedly haunted revolutionary-era cottage on the Sanctuary grounds.






The Common Room educational classroom is built and dedicated.






Hawk Mountain board, staff and members, led by Rosalie, work to solidify the operation of the Sanctuary and expand its educational offerings, lobbying diligently in favor of hawk protection legislation on both the state and federal levels.






Rosalie Edge dies just a few days after being recognized by the National Audubon Society for her life-long achievements in conversation, including the establishment of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.






Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is designated a Registered National Historic Landmark.  The River of Rocks area, a total of 650 acres, is added to the Sanctuary’s original holdings of 1,373 acres.






Maurice Broun retires after 32 years of service to Hawk Mountain.  Alex Nagy is named Curator.






The Pennsylvania State Legislature passes the Pennsylvania Model Hawk Law.  This legislation, enacted in 1970, provided for the first comprehensive protection for all birds of prey in Pennsylvania.






Hawk Mountain Sanctuary establishes an Education Department and begins a formal education program.



Hawk shooting finally ends on the ridges around the Sanctuary, 36 years after its founding.






Educator/naturalist Jim Brett joins the staff as assistant curator.






Federal Migratory Bird Act is passed.



The use of DDT in this country is banned after 20 years of use as an agricultural pesticide.  This same year startling low counts of Bald Eagles (23), Peregrine Falcons (10) and Ospreys are recorded from the lookouts, a trend directly related to the use of DDT that continued throughout the 1970s into the mid-1980s.






“Feathers In The Wind” by Alex Nagy and Jim Brett and “The View From Hawk Mountain” by Michael Harwood are published.






Hawk Mountain intern program begins with one student.






The first Visitor Center opens.  Alex Nagy presents a paper on raptor population trends based on 40 years of autumn counts at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary at a meeting of the International Council of Bird Preservation.






The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Research Award to help fund research in the conservation of raptors is established.  The funding of this award is taken over by Zeiss Optics beginning in 1988.






Schaumboch’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



Maurice Broun dies at the age of 73.






Alex Nagy retires.  Jim Brett is named Curator.






Biologist and former congressional staff member Stan Senner becomes the executive director of the Association.






Current Volunteer Program is initiated.






Hawk Mountain Sanctuary celebrates its 50th Anniversary.



The Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation names Hawk Mountain Sanctuary as Pennsylvania’s “Conservation Organization of the Year”.  Hawk Mountain is cited for its outstanding work by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.



Two more parcels of land (70 and 117 acres) are added to the Sanctuary’s holdings, including all land north of the road in Schuylkill County to the Little Schuylkill River.






Hawk Mountain welcomes its first international intern, a student from Israel.



“The Mountain and Migration” by Jim Brett is published.






Hawk Mountain Sanctuary receives the Chevron Award for Excellence in Conservation.



The Sanctuary hires its first Director of Research.



Four offices and Library are added to the Visitor Center.






Stan Senner leaves to work in the restoration office after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.



Cynthia Lenhart is named executive director.






The Taylor Visitor Center, including a raptor museum, art gallery and bookstore, opens in October.






Joe Taylor, President of the Board of Directors for 25 years, dies at his home in Rochester, NY.



Minturn T. Wright III becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors.



The “Millionth Bird”, a female sharp-shinned hawk, is recorded over North Lookout on October 8 at 11:40 EST.






Hawk Mountain celebrates sixty years of conservation with a lecture by Roger Tory Peterson.



The current Volunteer Program reaches its first decade.






Director Chan Robbins celebrates 50 years with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.



Volunteers log a record 14,950 hours.




1996       -    20th Anniversary of Internship Program.

               -    Jim Brett resigns as Curator after serving the Sanctuary for 25 years.

1997       -    Season records set for migrating Golden Eagle (101) and Peregrine Falcon (60). 

1998       -    60th anniversary of Sanctuary incorporation.

               -     Membership rises to 10,000.

   -      New records set for Bald Eagles (154), Golden Eagles (144) and Cooper’s       

      Hawk (1,121).

1999     -       A 20-acre parcel of woodland is purchased and added to the Sanctuary.  This land                                known as the Amelia Earhart Tract is the first addition to the Sanctuary in 15 years and extends the Sanctuary property to 2,400 acres.

2000     -       Raptor Watch, a global directory of raptor migration watchsites is published in June.  More than 800 raptor experts contributed to this book that describes 388 globally significant sites in 89 countries.

2001     -      Hawk Mountain acquires 43 acres and breaks ground for the Acopian Center for Conservation Learning.

2002     -      Hawk Mountain adds 124 acres to its landholding, the largest land acquisition in 17 years.  The tract borders one mile of Sanctuary property and 2/3 of a mile along  Hawk Mountain Road.

Acopian Center for Conservation Learning, the Sanctuary’s biological field station    and training facility is dedicated.

Wings of Wonder exhibit opens at the Visitor Center.

New records set for Bald Eagle (207) and Peregrine Falcon (62).

2004     -       Cynthia Lenhart, resigns as Executive Director to move closer to her parents in NC.

Lee Schisler, joins HMS staff as President in August, in time for the fall migration                   season.

2005     -       Hawk Mountain publishes its first children’s book, The Return of Magic, a story of the natural history of the American Kestrel

2006     -     New education initiative pilot programs are tested at Albany Elementary School (Kempton); the initiative to begin in spring 2007 will target under-served schools in Bethlehem, Mahanoy City, Reading and Tamaqua.

                    New raptor natural history educational exhibit is installed at Cabela’s. 

                    Annual Hawk Mountain Art Show moves to Cabela’s.

2007    -      Hawk Mountain hosts first combined Raptor Research Foundation and Hawk  Migration Association of North America Conference in Allentown.

Hawk Mountain acquires three acres along Hawk Mountain Road west of the Sanctuary.

                “Raptor Challenge” program is launched in under-served schools in Schuylkill County, Lehigh Valley, and Reading.

2009    -        Hawk Mountain celebrates 75 years of raptor conservation and education.

         Phase II of Raptor Challenge program is instituted in fifth grade.

    Volunteer corps is 220 strong and logs 12,030 hours, which is equal to almost seven                additional staff members.

2010 -           President Lee Schisler, Jr. leaves in March and Jerry Regan becomes president in  October.

                     Bald eagle record is broken with 407 counted during the official count.  

2012 –          Renovation of the Common Room begins.  Farmland Raptor project initiated.          

                     New record for Golden Eagles in one season (173)